Senior suffers from turophobia, the fear of cheese

March 16, 2011 — by Rohan Rajeev

Senior Soorya Rangan doesn’t mind good food. He can eat anything, ranging from something as normal as a simple sandwich, to something as exotic as caviar. However, at the sight or smell of pizza, string cheese, nachos and even Doritos, he turns around in utter distaste. Why?

Rangan has turophobia—the fear of cheese. Since this fear is uncommon, his friends were mostly entertained by the phobia at first.

“The first idea of mine was to somehow play a prank on him,” junior Harsha Murthy said on the first time he heard of Rangan’s strange fear.

Rangan’s fear is intense, if somewhat comical.

“I used to be able to eat cheese,” Rangan said. “Now I shudder whenever someone even says that word.”

Rangan had been fine with eating cheese until a fateful train ride 11 years ago changed everything.

“I watched as a guy next to me ate a pizza with gross-looking cheese on it,” he said. “I can’t really think about or even say the word ‘cheese’ without thinking about that guy and his disgusting pizza.”

Ever since, Rangan has been repulsed by all types of cheese—even common types such as mozzarella and cheddar—and sometimes even runs away from it.

“I get ticklish inside when I see it,” he said. “I feel legitimately sick when I see other people eating it.”

Even Rangan’s friends had not known of his unusual phobia until recently.

Senior Nikhil Jayashankar said he was eating a sandwich with cheese and he asked him—cautiously—if it had cheese in it.

Jayashankar couldn’t believe that his friend was so uncomfortable around cheese.

“My initial reaction was ‘This has got to be a joke,’” he said. “I didn’t think it was possible to be afraid of cheese.”

He soon learned, however, that it wasn’t a joke. In fact, Rangan shuddered at the sight of a single slice of cheese.

“He doesn’t like it at all when [our friends and I] have any cheese in our food, including pizza,” Jayashankar said. “He doesn’t even want it near him.”

However, Rangan’s phobia has provided many funny moments for his friends.

“Once he saw cheese on his sweatshirt,” Jayashankar laughed. “He immediately freaked out and took it off as fast as he could.”